Tag Archives: before and after

Our DIY Family Room Before and After (Now that it actually looks like we live here)


Almost a year ago we finished renovating our 70s-wood-paneled-sunroom-turned-family-room and I shared a before and after here on the blog. Well, more like a before and empty-room-after, which, let’s be honest, is boring!

The thing is that filling out a room takes time and effort! The family room has turned into one of my favorite places to spend time in our house (thanks to the bath of sunshine we get from 9 windows, and a constantly growing Netflix queue). While we’ve still got a bit to work on in this room, I’m happy with the cozy cocoon we’ve created. (Wood paneling be gone!)

The cracking linoleum floors, wood paneling, snake skeletons and rodent-poop-insulation feel (and are) a million miles away. (Thanks goodness!)

Just a reminder of where we started:

Lo and behold – it looks like we live here (finally!)


We get TONS of sun in our house – and with nine windows, this room is constantly full of light. And no window treatments. Because that’s how we roll. Hopefully for not much longer.

sunroom4We bought the hooked pillows this summer when we were in Portsmouth for the weekend. They are my favorite part! We finally kicked all our old college stuff to the curb (except for the IKEA Poang chair – that will never die!). We’ve bought all of our upholstered furniture from Boston Interiors – and I couldn’t recommend them enough!sunroom5

I’ve been pondering artwork for this room. It’s a tough place to hang anything because – oh yeah – we have nine windows and two french doors. In an act of impulsiveness I hung those woven starfish and they’ve been there ever since.sunroom6We originally bought these colorful monkey’s fists to hang off the wall… but I’m not sure if I like that idea anymore. So they are just monnkeyin’ hanging around waiting to find a home.

sunroom7I found this lovely red metal waypoint at one of those local discount curtain and bath outlets. Then this month I saw it in the L.L. Bean home magazine! It’s more expensive at L.L. Bean, but if you want one for yourself I thought I’d share the knowledge.

“They” (who are “they” anyways?) say that every room needs a splash of red – now that we have one, I have to agree.

This brings us to the empty side of the room:sunroom8Our current TV stand is obviously way too small for the space. We are (fingers crossed) really hoping to make our first attempt at furniture building with a new entertainment center – so until that happens this one will stay. I’m hoping this spring we can finally get to it! Ultimately we’d love a long, low storage unit that will span the whole width of the room.

And YES, we still have our TV in front of a window – what a strange problem to have – not enough wall space! I’m just glad it’s out of the main living room now.

A tough part in the winter as a blogger is when to take photos. It’s dark when I get home from work and the last thing I’m thinking of on a Saturday morning is to run around and take photos of all the things I want to post about. Lucky for you, I happened to snap a few on my phone – because after I (finally got my act together and) took pictures of the family room, we got a new rug. The tan one now lives in our bedroom, and all my braided rug dreams have come true.

sunroom9 sunroom10This was a HomeGoods find.

Truly, I feel pretty self-conscious about posting a room just full of stuff. There’s NO PROJECT to explain, but my BFF convinced me that everyone loves a good before and after. I hope that’s the case! I must say, I don’t miss the old room one bit.

So, now that I’ve shared our TV watching room of the house… any Netflix recommendations? :p

Read all about how we DIYed our Family Room:

Before & After: An Old Painted Dresser

First – Happy Saturday!

We’ve had several men working on our house for the last two weeks residing our house. (!!) The  old siding was rotted and peeling beyond repair. We also were able to knock out that awkward window in our shower and side right over it!

All this to say, they are working right outside of the window I’m sitting in front of and I feel a little rude. So this post will be short today.

Earlier this spring I posted another dresser that I was tackling – my mom’s dresser that she had when she was a kid.

Refinishing an old painted dresser

You can see more of the “before” photos and how I stripped the paint here in this old post.

It took me a long time to refinish this piece because there were many layers of paint, and also needed quite a bit of sanding to take out a lot of dings and scratches.

I am happy to say that it has spent the last month happily living in my bedroom!!

Today I’ll share an “after” and I’ll be back to explain the sanding and pre-staining process I tried this time around.

Refinishing an old painted dresser

Happy Saturday!!

What are your plans today? I’m getting together with one of my best girlfriends!

Before and After: The Family Room (Buh-bye Wood Paneling!)

Silly me. I forgot to share a before and after of the Sunroom-turned-Family-Room.

Once upon a time, people loved knotty wood wall paneling, drop ceilings and linoleum floors. And strange uncomfortable built-in benches.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

I must say, this wood paneling was in GREAT shape and really quality stuff. Part of me hated taking it down, but Moose convinced me *and he was right, per usual* that we needed to re-insulate this room.

This paneling had a happy ending though! Our neighbor ended up taking it all to do something in his basement!

But now when I sit in the middle of our (empty) new room… every painful moment of removing mouse-poop infested insulation was worth it.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

It’s hard to believe this is the same room! The room was completely gutted, STARTING with the built-in bench you saw above.

Since the room is built on a concrete slab there was no heat in the room. We added two baseboard heating units (one of which you see above) and can now control the temperature in that room separately from the rest of the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

We replaced all of the windows, and installed new window trim to match the rest of the trim in the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

When we gutted the room, we exposed the back of the fireplace – thus my many DIY distressed brick posts!

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick WallBrick Wall Tutorial: Tinting a Brick Wall

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

Here you can see the original door from the living room. Also notice that the original room was a step down. When we redid the floor we built a new sub-floor to rise the height of the floor, so now the flooring is now the same level.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

And looking back at this one door…

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

…it looks so skinny compared to the new french doors!

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

Since we have an older home, we don’t have a naturally open floor plan. Adding in these french doors definitely makes the spaces feel more unified.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

I still have nightmares about removing these ceiling tiles.

If walls could talk they might say, “Ick-Ew-Gross”.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled SunroomOur new smooth walls and ceiling are plaster. And the ceiling fan was replaced with recessed lighting.

(And we installed about 10 extra electrical outlets along the way! That’s the royal “we” by the way.)

And here you can see the beautiful new crown molding installed by Moose! Painted by me – I have to get some credit somewhere, right?

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

This was the first room we’ve starting doing molding in and he did an AWESOME job! Now for the rest of the house! ; )

Not only was the original floor a step down, but it was a disaster! The old linoleum was cracking and breaking off of the concrete slab. Not much to miss here!

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

To finish off the room, we continued on with our honey-colored hardwood floors that are in the rest of the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

This room has by far been the biggest “change” – I guess that’s what happens when you gut a room!

I remember walking into this room on the first day we looked at the house – we had so many visions for it then. It’s hard to believe nearly two years have passed and the vision is finally coming to life!

We’ve ordered a couch for the room, and when that comes our television will be moving over there! We’ve talked about some DIY attempts at furniture making for this room… so I will have to keep you posted on that!

Read all about how we DIYed Family Room:

Who doesn’t love a good before and after!

By the way – it’s National Library Week! Get on over to your local library and check-out a book, pay your late fees or listen to the Story Lady read a book! Celebrate and read!

Kitchen: Before and After Photos

As I mentioned here, I promised to do a before and after kitchen post. We’ve been enjoying our new kitchen! Last night I made scones in preparation for tomorrow’s Irish celebration! You can find the recipe for scones I posted last year here.

This weekend I’m going to make Corned Beef and Cabbage for the first time – we’ll see how it goes! And a Happy St. Patrick’s Day at that!

And now, down to the kitchen nitty-gritty. As I said in my last kitchen reveal post, we’ve spent a solid 10 months renovating our kitchen and we are done with phase I. SUPER exciting.

For those who are curious as to what the phase II kitchen reno entails:

  • Add tile backsplash
  • Add crown molding and shoe molding
  • New stove and a cabinet/countertop endcap to the left of the stove
  • Add outlet inside pantry and install small microwave

This is the kitchen on the day of our initial walk-through:

Although you can’t really tell in this photo, the countertop was peeling, the backsplash was rotted out, the cabinet hinges were coated in layers of thick paint, the faucet leaked everywhere, the sink was beyond stained, the dishwasher was broken, and there was only a big copper wire where the fridge was supposed to be.

We repainted the insides of the cabinets and had new custom-size cabinet doors made. Buying an older home = standard sizes usually don’t match (like IKEA cabinet doors).

We replaced all the windows in the house with new double-panes from Harvey’s. That includes these two in the kitchen.

We (erm, my husband) ripped out the old countertop and had this one installed. So far we love our granite countertop. It is sturdy and easy to clean. And while I don’t make a habit of putting hot cookware directly on the counter, it’s nice to know that if I do, it won’t be a problem.

We chose an undermount large basin stainless steel sink (through our countertop people) and got the faucet on clearance at Lowes. I love our large basin sink. While some prefer to  have the divided sides, I love being able to place an entire cookie sheet or cast iron skillet flat on the bottom of the sink. We also had to install a new garbage disposal.

We took down the ceiling fan in the kitchen immediately. We’ve since added four recessed lights, track lighting over the sink and this rail lighting from LightingDirect over the island. Plans for undercabinet lighting are in the future.

Obviously we tore down all the (several layers) of wallpaper. We put in all new light switches and outlets. We painted the radiator, and lots of other small tasks.

We tore out the old, broken dishwasher and installed this new one we got on sale at Lowes.

Then we took down our old microwave and put up the range hood. We had future plans to install a small microwave in the pantry and will backsplash underneath the hood and cabinets.

That big wire you see was the water line for the old fridge. Not only would that space fit a very small fridge, but it would eat up a ton of floor space and make our already small kitchen feel even tinier. I wasn’t crazy about losing the line-of-sight to the deck entrance, as well as to the dining room. No thank you.

Instead, we purchased and refinished this sideboard, and I think it fits the space perfectly. Plus, a little extra cabinet space never killed anybody. Behind that we installed the beadboard wallpaper and chair rail molding.  We also purchased and refinished an island for a central workspace and seating area.

So where does that leave the fridge?

We decided to knock out a wall that led to our hallway coat closet. We sacrificed the closet in order to be able to recess the fridge into the wall. We looked at refrigerators FOREVER to find the right size – we bought a counter-depth fridge – to maximize the recessed space.

Then we added new molding so it looks like a seamless addition.

Last but not least, there was the pantry.

I am KICKING myself because I don’t know if I took a before pictures of the inside of the pantry. Probably because my pants were on fire to rip it out!

All the insides of the kitchen cabinets were this dark wood color.

But inside the pantry was a labyrinth of swinging doors and cabinets that pulled out. And… get this… it was all shelving for cans. There were probably 200 little compartment shelving pieces that swung out in various directions for canned good storage!!! Can you tell this kitchen was built in the 1950s?

It was kind of cool… but we have an average 10 cans in our house at a time. There was no where to put a bag of sugar! Or a box of Golden Grahams! Or a box of Mac and Cheese! It would not do. So we ripped it out. And then we repainted.

And we added new shelving units on the inside.

Sorry my pantry isn’t picture perfect – but it doesn’t have to be!!! I have pantry doors now! I had to look at this mess for months. Talk about visual overload.

To read more about our kitchen adventures, check out some of my older kitchen reno posts:

I’m linking this post up to Beneath My Heart’s “Best DIY Projects of March” Linky Party